EXPERIENCED Riverina footballer Trent Cohalan will join his brother Travis in the coaching position at Charles Sturt University (CSU) next season.
The Bushpigs unveiled their new coaching partnership on Tuesday with the Cohalan brothers going into partnership for the first time.
Trent joined CSU this season after a distinguished career at Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes and made a big impact at the Bushpigs.
The club wasted no time in promoting Trent to senior coach and in the processed it convinced Travis to remain at the helm for a fourth year.
The Bushpigs hope Dusty Rogers, who co-coached alongside Travis this year, will remain at the club in a playing and leadership capacity.
Trent, 35, is excited to take on his first senior coaching gig.
"It's exciting. I probably feel like I've kind of been ready for a little while but for whatever reason it hasn't fell that way," Trent said.
"It's certainly something we touched on, to a degree, when I spoke to the club last year and what that looked like was always going to be discussed at a later date.
"I'm excited to be stepping up."
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Trent was a long-time captain of the Goannas in the Riverina League and was assistant coach at the club before making the switch to CSU this year.
He feels he has the right grounding to take the next step.
"I think I was in those more because of personnel than anything, I was in leadership groups from a pretty young age at Mango and pretty well have been for every year since barring a year where I just wanted a bit of a break," he said.
"I guess I've kind of played under some pretty reasonable coaches when you think about it. Obviously Jeremy Rowe, Nathon Irvin, Chris Daniher and even as far back as Rod Sims was my first coach at senior level and Nick Smith, who I thought was a really good technical coach back in the day, and then obviously Trav at different stages so I feel like I've had a good variety of voices and a number of different people to learn off and mould my own leadership style too."
The experienced midfielder has always held aspirations to one day coach and said it was as simple as the right timing now at CSU.
"It's probably more a timing thing I would imagine. I think certainly the opportunity excites me with the group that we've got as well," Trent said.
"I've probably felt like I was ready for a long period of time but I suppose opportunities weren't there where I was out at Mango and I didn't really want to leave. We obviously had good coaches in those points in time so you park yourself back in an assistant's role as much as you can.
"Coming here and having a discussion in July with Mick Irons and just talking about what that structure could look like and obviously Trav's been involved with this group since they were first-years and the opportunity for him to go one more with them and coach with them into their fourth year at uni was one that we had to respect and honour and he'll be great again for the footy club.
"Then there is a core group of the players into their fourth year and I feel as if they're eagar to learn. I think sometimes the stigma of the uni club can be that they're just young kids wanting to get on the grog and have a kick with their mates but they really do knuckle down, train hard and they're like mops, they come and ask questions and soak it all up so I feel as if there is a heap more growth in every single one of them and that's something I'm really excited about as well."
Travis, who alongside Rogers were named co-coaches of the Farrer League Team of the Year this season, led the club to their first finals win in 22 years last month.
He is happy to be going again.
"It's another exciting opportunity to work with the group that came together three years ago and a few of them will graduate at the end of next year so we know there are a few that we will lose at the end of 2024 so I'm excited by the opportunity," Travis said.
"The growth within the playing group has been really positive the last three years and we've taken a step forward, in terms of our performances on the field, in every one of the three years and that will be the aim again next year, just to look for that improvement from every individual which will result in team improvement."
Travis is also looking forward to coaching in partnership with his younger brother for the first time.
"I wouldn't be doing it if Trent wasn't doing it so I'm looking forward to him taking more of a hands-on role than me to be honest," Travis said.
"It's his first senior coaching opportunity and as I said, if Trent wasn't doing it than I certainly wouldn't be as involved to the extent I will be next year...I love the boys and the club and the way they go about it but certainly having Trent step into the coaching role definitely made it an easy decision for me to stay.
"I'm proud of the achievement for both of us and it's something very special and something that we will probably look back on in the next five or 10 years and say it was really good to be able to do that together."
CSU president Riley McNab was thrilled to have the two brothers unite as club co-coaches.
"Trav has been able to provide stability to our coaching structure and has built some really strong relationships with the playing group that has led to improved results on field," McNab said.
"With the addition of Trent this year, we have had another strong voice and on field leader with a young playing group.
"We are excited to have Travis and Trent take on the job together as co-coaches and leading the playing group to further success in 2024."
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